Law Offices of Louis Spitters

Silicon Valley Employment Law Blog

Have a payment dispute over overtime?

Working overtime is not something most people want to do, but they do it because their employers require it or they want the financial benefit that should come from it. The problem is, there are those in California who put in the work and then fail to get paid appropriately for their time. When in a payment dispute with one's employer about overtime, it is possible to get help addressing the matter.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay overtime wages to hourly employees who work more than 40 hours per week. These employees are supposed to get paid time and a half for their overtime hours. There is no limit as to how many hours anyone 16 years of age or older can work in any given week.

Implied contracts, are they enforceable?

The business world thrives on contracts. These legal documents keep everyone on the same page and are there to hold people accountable when they breach contract terms. However, not all contracts are written down or agreed to verbally. Some are implied. Are implied contracts enforceable in the state of California?

An implied contract, by definition, is an unspoken understanding between two or more parties. There are different types of implied contracts. Those that are implied-in-fact are intentional and understood by all parties. Those that are implied-in-law are unintentional but still meant to be understood by all involved.

Does the EEOC take age discrimination claims seriously?

According to United States employment law, age is one of those things on which employers are not supposed to base their hiring, firing and promotion decisions. Unfortunately, every year, thousands of people find themselves victims of age discrimination -- many of whom may live in California. Is this an issue that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking seriously?

According to a recently published article, it looks like the EEOC is just now starting to take on more age discrimination cases. There has not been a shortage of these claims over the years. The EEOC reportedly receives roughly 20,000 complaints concerning age discrimination annually. However, the number of claims that it has decided to pursue legal action against has been minimal. For example, in 2016, it only filed two age discrimination lawsuits.

Dealing with an employment dispute?

Are you one of the many California residents who are having or have had problems in the workplace? When an employment dispute occurs, it may seem easier to let it go and try to move on, but that is something you should not have to do. Depending on the issue at hand and the circumstances of your case, you may have legal recourse.

Employment disputes of all kinds happen every day. Contract problems, wage and hour issues and pension dilemmas can cost you dearly in the long run. Discrimination, retaliation, harassment and/or wrongful termination can be financially damaging and emotionally traumatizing. Any of these problems can leave you feeling used, abused and undervalued.

Google facing harassment and retaliation claims

Google has been in the news a lot as of late. In 2018, employees walked out on the company over forced arbitration -- something it no longer requires. Now, the tech company is facing serious claims of harassment and retaliation, primarily from female staff members. Many of them recently shared their stories, and these stories may hit close to home with others in California who have, sadly, experienced the same thing at their places of work.

According to a recently released article, many women at Google have come forward, saying that they have been the victims of sexual harassment. Others claim that they were passed over for promotions due to their gender. One former employee says she was retaliated against due to her activism. Another claimed taking maternity leave caused her to be discriminated against.

Settlement reached in disability discrimination lawsuit

According to federal laws, employees in California and elsewhere have every right to take time off work for specific family and medical reasons. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows a person so many weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period. How much time one is allowed to take depends on the circumstances behind the leave request. In another state, several employees filed a complaint against their former employer, stating they were the victims of disability discrimination after being fired at the end of their FMLA time off. This case was recently settled.

According to a news report, five former employees of Connections Community Support Programs filed a lawsuit against the company in 2017 after they were let go from their positions. One of the plaintiffs says she took time off because of a work-related injury. Another required leave while she was fighting ovarian cancer. The reasons behind the other employees' needed time off were not reported.

The reasons a firing may be a wrongful termination

No one likes to get fired. For most people, it comes as a complete shock, while others may see signs that it is on the horizon. At the end of the day, it does not matter when a person is fired; it matters how they were fired and for what reason. Some California residents who have been let go from their jobs may find that they have been dismissed illegally. Those who believe this applies to them may file wrongful termination claims in an effort to seek compensation for their losses.

It is estimated that over 100,000 people in the United States are victims of wrongful termination every year. That is a lot of people devastated by the loss of employment and all the negative things that accompany it. Employers do have the right to hire and fire who they please and typically when they want; however, there are a few reasons for which they are prohibited from firing employees. Those reasons include:

  • Discrimination
  • Retaliation
  • Use of employee benefits
  • Taking family or medical leave
  • Reporting illegal activity

What qualifies as workplace harassment?

All California residents who are employed -- no matter their field of employment -- should be able to do their jobs in environments that are free from harassment. Unfortunately, workplace harassment is a very real thing and something that many people put up with every single day. Those who do may have the right to take legal action against those responsible for the harassment and those who failed to do anything about it.

What qualifies as workplace harassment? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, harassment is any unwelcome physical or verbal behavior regarding one's race, sex, religion, age, disability or nationality -- among other things. The harassment has to be behavior that makes one's working environment abusive or hostile. A few examples of harassment in the workplace include:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Assault
  • Sharing of offensive pictures
  • Sharing of offensive jokes
  • Ridicule
  • Intimidation

Burger King sued for disability discrimination

An individual in another state recently sued Burger King for withdrawing an offer of employment due to his disability. He won this fight, and the company has been ordered to pay him monetary damages, as well as ensure that their human resources department is up to date with accommodations allowed to disabled persons, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disability discrimination is no joke, and anyone in California or elsewhere who believes that they are victims of it may, like this gentleman, take legal action against those responsible. 

According to the plaintiff's claim, he was offered a job as a bathroom and dining room attendant. When he requested to have a job coach with him during his shifts, his offer of employment was withdrawn. The job coach would not have cost the company a penny. It is unclear why this request, which is deemed a reasonable accommodation according to the ADA, cost him his job. 

Not all wrongful termination cases make it to court

Anyone who has been fired from a job has every right to question the legality of his or her situation. The wrongful termination of employees happens far too often, and it is certainly something that should not be allowed to stand. Some believe that they have been let go from their employers unfairly, but they do not want to take the issue to court if they do not have to. The good news is wrongful termination cases in California and elsewhere do not always end up going to trial. 

Recently, a story was published about a man's wrongful termination case that ended up being settled out of court. The plaintiff in this particular case claims that his former employer -- Cloud, LLC -- let him go and then refused to pay him the monthly disbursement owed him. This individual was initially seeking over $75,000 in damages and legal fees. 

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